I was buying a ticket for an upcoming trip and found a decent fare on delta.com. I paid for the ticket with my credit card, but a few days later I realized that I’d used the “wrong” credit card. By that I mean that in these tough times, many of us are managing balances on multiple credit cards. I charged the ticket on a card I hadn’t intended to use. No worries, I thought. Maybe I can just ask them to charge a different credit card. So I call their call center and explain the situation to an agent. I’d like to have the exact same ticket, but I’d like to use a different credit card. “It’s already been charged.” Yes, I know, but can you reverse that and just charge a different card now? “No, you’d have to refund the entire ticket and repurchase it.” Okay, is there a charge for that? “Yes, your ticket has a $150 change fee.” Huh? But I’m not changing anything. I want to continue doing business with you (a rarity with airlines these days) – no changes to seat numbers, flights, heck, it’s even the same price online today. I’d just like to charge a different credit card. “Can’t do that, you bought the ticket a few days ago.”
Now I thought I understood the purpose of change fees, but I’m confused now. Who knows why they wouldn’t allow me to swap credit cards. Maybe their systems are too outdated to do this. Maybe they don’t have the checks-and-balances in place to allow their agents to edit the transactions. Maybe someone at some time figured out some way to game the system by doing what I wanted to do. (How? Who knows.) But I think the answer is really this: they just don’t want to be bothered.